I took a couple days off work because I felt like it and used the time to catch up on some laying around doing nothing that I’d put off for far to long. I finished a book, read 2 more, and managed to finish up season one of Fringe.
Fringe follows main character Olivia who’s an FBI agent investigating cases where high science (genetic experiments, teleportation, reanimation), or fringe science as it’s termed in the show. In the pilot Olivia runs across some ‘Weird Ass Shit’ that kills a plane full of people and puts her partner (and lover) in the hospital. Her investigation leads her to Walter (Super Genius), a scientist who dealt in ‘Weird Ass Shit’ until he had a breakdown 15 years after a lab accident killed his assistant. He’s been in a psych ward since. In order to get access to access to the mental patient she needs a relative, enter Peter – Walter’s estranged son (also a super genius), with Walter and Peter’s help Olivia manages to get some answers about the ‘Weird Ass Shit’ and save her boy toy. The team assembled they investigate the ‘Weird Ass Shit’ eventually discovering conspiracies and other oddness.
I have mixed feelings with this show. On the hand, it starts out pretty slow and it doesn’t really pick up until maybe halfway through the season. My major complaints are the same I have for most any show that involves law enforcement. Everything seems to easy for them. Nary a defense attorney in sight unless it’s a plot point, you’d think Olivia had never heard of a warrant and all these cases are solved in days. Also most cases start as murders and the FBI taskforce gets called in because of the ‘Weird Ass Shit’. Still, essentially they’re murders – that’d be local police not FBI. Ah well, at least we’re spared the usually obligatory jurisdiction pissing contest with the cops.
Don’t get me wrong if it sounds like I hated the show, I don’t. I’m probably going to get season 2 when it comes out. It’s just… good, not great. It’s not something when, after finishing an episode, I had to watch the next or I’d die. It is fun in a weird way, making me think of what X-Files could have been (hated X-Files, watched half of season 1 and gave up).
I think the great saving grace of Fringe is Walter. As mentioned, Walter had a breakdown and has spent over a decade in a psycho ward. While Walter is a still a super genius, he is also batshit insane. Peter’s job is basically Walter’s handler. Walter… is a character. Prior to his breakdown he gained inspiration for his experiments through generous use of LSD and other.. recreational aids. His mind wanders and where it takes us noone knows! A few quotes:
Peter: Are you sure?
Walter: Peter I’m not even sure we exist on the same plane of consciousness, must we must do it anyway!
Oliva: What are you doing here?
Walter: Trying to plug a hole in the universe, what are YOU doing here?
Ah Walter, you make me laugh.When I started typing I was going to give Fringe a 3, but writing the review I realized I remember all the main character’s names and a few of the supporting characters as well. Astrid the FBI assistant at the lab, John Scott the partner and lover, Charlie Olivia’s colleague, William Bell the… something we’ll find out in season 2. Usually I end up commenting on character’s roles, not the character themselves. I guess memorable characters made more of an impression on me than I initially thought. I’m gonna bump the score up a bit, and hope they don’t do anything stupid in S2 like try and hook up Olivia and Peter.
3 1/2 out of 5
*****Yes, I hated X-Files. It was dark, depressing, vague without being interesting enough to be considered mysterious – worst of all it was boring.